Answer: While companies vary in their requirements, it is important to know in advance what a finalist may be tested for and what information may be checked/verified. Companies operating nationally will conform to federal laws for drug testing including marijuana in states where it is legal to use it. Finalists may be asked for a release to review their credit history, to obtain verification of education and employment, and to provide a record of their earnings.
For companies which conform to federal laws for drug testing, if a candidate tests positively for marijuana, and there is no medical prescription for drug usage, s/he will not receive an offer or the offer will be withdrawn. While recent state laws make it legal to use marijuana, candidates must abstain from using it. There is wide variation on how long traces of drug use remain in the body. If someone is a regular or a casual user it can be anywhere from 7-100 days.
One of my clients reached the offer stage with a highly qualified candidate. With just days to go to receive an offer, the candidate, who was suffering back strain, tried marijuana without a prescription. She did not realize she would be tested for the presence of the drug. A note from her doctor, after the fact, indicated that the drug did not have an adverse impact and the candidate was in good health. However, the doctor had not written a prescription for the drug. Despite the fact that the communications team thought the doctor’s note was sufficient, the case was referred to the legal department. The offer was withdrawn.
In addition to drug testing, in key positions, finalists may be asked for a release to review their credit history to obtain verification of education and employment. They may be asked to provide a record of their earnings. Considering the length of the search process, the figures may have changed from the approximate information provided initially and require an explanation.
In no case, should numbers differ from the documentation submitted. Factors that impact the numbers should be described in a separate document. Remember an offer is subject to meeting the conditions as outlined by HR and if there is any issue, the legal department will review the situation to protect the company. Refusing to provide the information requested can and most likely will lead to the offer being withdrawn.
Here’s an example of what not to do. A candidate conducted a lengthy discussion with me to review his compensation information. He knew he was underpaid in his current role and decided to inflate his base salary figures. I presented a detailed picture of his total compensation in a written report to my client. The policy of the company was to verify salary information. While the company had a history of making generous offers to compete for excellent candidates, they would not tolerate misrepresentations. After much delay, the candidate provided a document which accurately stated his salary. While an offer was extended, it was subject to verification of the information the candidate provided. I alerted the candidate not to resign until we had clearance that he had passed. He failed and the offer was rescinded.